January 15, 2011

Saturday rant!

Click on over to Dirt Rag and read their, um, I’m not sure what it is… “article” (? advertisement?) about the all-new Airborne bikes.

Now, we all know Dirt Rag has slowly spiraled down the overcommercialized drain on the way to becoming a clone of Mountain Bike Action or Bicycling. That’s hard to watch, but on the plus side, there are a lot of better ways to spend your time these days if you’re bored and want to read about bikes.

Still, I was pretty astounded by this quote:
“To create their latest models they examined benchmark models from major manufactuers, crafted a similar package and undercut the price by 20-30 percent.”

So, let me get this straight: the company admits that they have zero interest in bringing something new or interesting to market. They imply that they’ve simply skipped any design work and copied other stuff already on the market. And their business plan is simply to be cheap.

I am not surprised by the way the company is being set up – the “just grab some generic $30 Chinese frame and throw parts on” system is standard for a lot of bike companies these days. I am fairly shocked (confused? impressed?) that they can openly say so without any marketing talk about their sweet geometry, awesome materials, whatever.

So, in a way, I’m a fan. I mean, they’re not making up a bunch of gibberish to justify what they’re doing – they’re just saying, “Look, you cheap bastards, we’ll tell it to you straight. We don’t know or care much about bikes, but we saw an opportunity to make the same old crap, but even cheaper than before.”

Brutal, total honesty. It’s refreshing, even as what they’re actually doing makes me throw up a little bit in the back of my mouth.